Welcome to SP!  -
Poodle Wall

Poodle Wall

Poodle Wall

Page Type: Route

Location: California, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 36.61470°N / 118.095°W

Object Title: Poodle Wall

Route Type: Sport Climbing, Toprope

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Time Required: Less than two hours

Difficulty: 5.8 - 5.10d

Route Quality: 
 - 2 Votes


Page By: Steve Larson

Created/Edited: Mar 30, 2005 / Mar 15, 2006

Object ID: 164514

Hits: 5452 

Page Score: 74.92%  - 5 Votes 

Vote: Log in to vote



Turn north on Movie Flat Road from Whitney Portal Road, and proceed about 1 mile to a dirt road that veers off to the left (west). This soon joins another road heading directly west towards some large rock formations. Pass the first +/- free-standing formation (Paul’s Paradise) and continue to follow roads leading west past a large, dark pinnacle on your left (the Burnt Penis) and into a small canyon (the Cattle Pocket). The road will soon turn left (south) around a big rock pile. You will find a big flat slab on your left with parking on its south and east sides. Stop here and walk east 50 yards through a notch, then scramble another ~100 yards east south-east to a large east-facing wall on the south side of the pocket. This is the approach recommended by Strassman. It is evident that an approach from the “Burnt Penis” would be shorter and more direct, but in deference to local wisdom, I’ll suggest you follow Strassman’s approach.

Route Description

There are at least five established routes on the Poodle Wall, ranging from 5.8 to 5.10d in difficulty. I do not have names or ratings for all the climbs. One route is a TR, another a trad crack, the rest sport climbs. There are anchors at the top of all climbs, though one is really special, and has to be seen to be appreciated. Since I have climbed only The Poodle Bites, that is the only climb for which I will provide in-depth beta. For general information on the area, and specific information on the other routes (including a topo), consult Michael Strassman’s book A Rock Climber’s Guide to the Alabama Hills.

  1. Pet Shop Boy (TR) 5.10
  2. People Are Poodles Too 5.10d
  3. The Poodle Bites 5.8, direct start 5.9. This enjoyable climb proceeds more or less up the center of the face, just to the left of the Poodle Boy crack. The technical crux is getting off the ground. The climbing becomes progressively easier as you get higher. The psychological crux comes between the third and fourth bolts. These are sufficiently far apart that there is a real ground fall potential as one approaches the fourth bolt. Thankfully, the holds are gompers, but for the less experienced leader, this might be a good route to TR (you can reach the “anchor” by walking around the right side of the face and scrambling up). The remaining bolts are also fairly run out for a sport climb, but you’re high enough off the deck that a ground fall is not likely, unless your belayer is asleep.

    You’ll probably be feeling pretty good about the climb as you approach the top. This feeling won’t last. The party that established the route discovered their 3/8” bolts could be removed by hand. So instead of bumping it up to ½” bolts, they hammered ½” angle pitons into the holes. I didn’t have a hammer to test these puppies when I was there, though they seem solid enough. They’re probably fine for top roping, but if you have doubts, just mutter "the poodle bites", and go climb something else.
  4. Poodle Boy 5.9 (crack, pro to 3.5”) Looks like a fun exercise, but we didn't have trad gear when we were there.
  5. The Poodle Chews It 5.9 Strassman calls this the "best route on the crag". Too bad we were out of day light.

Essential Gear

Rope, harness, draws, sunscreen. Gallons and gallons of water in the summer.

Additions and Corrections

[ Post an Addition or Correction ]
Viewing: 1-3 of 3    


Voted 10/10

Seems like last time I climbed the 5.8 route at this wall, the piton anchors were replaced. Both the 5.9 and the 10d also have good anchors at the top.
Posted Nov 14, 2006 9:51 pm
brutus of wydePitons and pro

brutus of wyde

Voted 10/10

The drilled pitons were still the anchor at the top of Poodle Bites as of 17 November 2007.

Poodle Bites can be adequately protected with the placement of a few Alien Hybrids where the bolts are further apart.

Posted Dec 4, 2007 7:53 pm
brutus of wydeUpdate

brutus of wyde

Voted 10/10

The drilled angles at the top of The Poodle Bites can now be backed up by clipping the first bolt of "Overbight" a 3-bolt 5.6 continuing up the arete to the top of the wall. Two 1/2" x 4" double-wedge stainless bolts are at the top. Scramble off the back side.

To the right of Overbight is "Short Leash" a 5.9 face climb 1 bolt plus 0.75 camalot.


Posted Apr 2, 2008 12:37 am

Viewing: 1-3 of 3    


Poodle WallThe nifty anchors at the top...Steve is making cat moves low...Steve is fearlessly leading...Misha nearing the top of The...The Poodle Wall, Alabama...On the FA of Overbight